Turmeric Curcumin: A Beginners Guide

Many people know turmeric as a spice, but not many people know that turmeric can also be used as a health supplement. Well, it has been a health supplement for many years.

You might be wondering how good turmeric would be as a supplement or for combating any disease. It is even possible that you don’t know what Turmeric Curcumin is. No worries, you can find out what you need to know about Turmeric Curcumin from this article.

What is Turmeric Curcumin?

Turmeric is a herbaceous flowering plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. The scientific name of the plant is Curcuma longa. It is a perennial rhizomatous.

The rhizomes of turmeric have a deep orange-yellow color. Also called the ‘Indian Saffron,’ this spice hails from the Asian continent, predominantly in India. Every year, they gather the turmeric plants for replanting and consumption.

Turmeric rhizomes can either be used fresh or boiled, dried and ground into powder. The powder has a bitter, black pepper-like flavor with an aroma similar to mustard.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. This ingredient is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent — the most important in a group of compounds called curcuminoids.

However, the percentage of this compound in a turmeric plant is not very high. The average percentage of Curcumin in Turmeric is just about 3%.

While the rhizomes are native to  Asians, the roots have spread to all parts of the world. As the turmeric spread, so did the understanding of its use in various ways. Let’s look into the purposes of this rhizome. You will find an application that you didn’t know before.

What Can Turmeric Be Used For?

If you like spices or have any interest whatsoever in cooking, you must know or at least have heard about turmeric curcumin. What you probably don’t know is that there is a lot more to the spice than cooking. Even in culinary, there are a lot of uses found that had not existed previously.

What are the uses of this plant? We have highlighted four primary uses of this plant.

1. Cooking

Turmeric is majorly known for its role in various meals, especially curries. The spice is a vital ingredient in most Asian foods. It adds a particular slightly bitter flavor and earthy aroma to meals.

While it is mostly savory dishes that contain turmeric, this spice is also used in sweet dishes like the sfouf cake. Indians use the leaf to prepare special meals like patoleo.

When turmeric powder goes into food, it gives it a golden yellow color. Turmeric powder gotten from the rhizome is used in baked products, ice cream, yogurt, dairy products, yellow cakes, canned beverages, orange juice, and so on.

Turmeric is also an essential ingredient in curry powder. Though turmeric is more popularly used in its powder form, several meals make use of it fresh.

2. Dyeing

The presence of Curcumin in Turmeric is what gives the plant its golden yellow color. Turmeric is used to dye Indian clothing such as robes and saris. The plant is, however, not the best of fabric dyes because it is not super lightfast.

Other than as a clothing dye, turmeric is commonly used as a food dye, protecting food items from sunlight. When used as a food additive, it is coded E100. Often because it is cheaper than saffron, it is added to mustards and canned chicken broths to give them a yellow color.

3. Indicator

Turmeric paper, also known as Curcuma paper, is paper dipped in a tincture of turmeric and dried. This paper is used by scientists to test for acidity and alkalinity.  It has proven very useful in chemical analysis.

When the turmeric paper indicator is dipped in acidic or neutral solutions, it is yellow. It turns brown or reddish-brown in alkaline solutions.

4. Medicinal Purposes

While the Indians have used turmeric for ages in their medicines, the therapeutic advantages of consuming turmeric were not acknowledged until recently. Curcumin, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent found in turmeric, works to relieve pain in people who have rheumatoid arthritis.

While most of the health benefits of curcumin has not been conclusively proven, several patients have had substantial improvements with the use of curcumin supplements. We would take a closer look at how curcumin can be beneficial to health.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Curcumin?

Inflammation helps your body fight against bacteria and diseases. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it attacks your body and could be damaging to several tissues. Scientists believe that several chronic diseases are a result of inflammation.

Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory which suppresses many molecules that cause inflammation. This compound works as well as most anti-inflammatory drugs without the side effects.

As an antioxidant, curcumin neutralizes the effects of free radicals in the body system. It also boosts the antioxidant enzymes already in your body. These two functions combined help you combat several diseases.

You might want to know the practical ways in which curcumin helps your body. We have explained some of those benefits below.

Brain Neurons

Curcumin helps increase the levels of BDNF, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. BDNF is a growth hormone that boosts neurons in the brain. Reduced levels of this hormone have been linked to several brain disorders.

Therefore, the use of curcumin can delay or reverse several brain diseases. It would also help improve memory due to the increase in BDNF levels.  No controlled studies in humans have, however, been carried out to prove this benefit.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the primary cause of death all over the world. While lots of research has been carried out on the condition, the cause remains complicated with a lot of contributing factors. 

Endothelial dysfunction is acknowledged as a significant cause of heart disease. This dysfunction prevents functions like blood clotting and blood pressure regulation.

Curcumin improves the function of the endothelium, working as well as other drugs for the same purpose. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin also help prevent heart disease. 

Cancer Prevention/Treatment

Curcumin can help prevent certain types of cancer, especially those in the digestive system. It fights cancer on the molecular level.

Curcumin supplements have also proven to be beneficial for the treatment of cancer. According to studies, this compound aids the death of cancerous cells. It also reduces angiogenesis and metastasis.

However, these studies have only been carried out on cancerous cells in laboratories and test animals. There is no conclusive evidence on its effects on cancer treatment in humans.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is the primary cause of dementia and the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world. There is no treatment available for this disease yet. However, curcumin can help prevent or even reverse the disease.

Curcumin helps cross the blood-brain barrier. It is also instrumental in the clearing of amyloid plaques, which is a crucial feature of Alzheimer’s disease. This activity of curcumin still needs to be adequately studied, though.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Many studies of the effects of curcumin in people who have rheumatoid arthritis have shown that the compound is beneficial. Arthritis is a common issue that causes inflammation in the joints.

As an anti-inflammatory, curcumin helps relieve the pain of people who have rheumatoid arthritis. Studies prove that this natural substance is even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug.

Now that you know all the prevention and treatment benefits of curcumin, I am sure you can’t wait to get some turmeric spice. However, there are specific ways to take turmeric for health benefits.

How Do I Absorb Turmeric Curcumin?

The absorption level of turmeric curcumin is considered low. Instead of being absorbed into the bloodstream, most of the curcumin goes to the stomach wall or liver lining. You can get more of the curcumin in your turmeric by adding certain things.

Some of the things you can do are to;

  • Add black pepper to your turmeric. Piperine, a compound that is high in black pepper, slows down the digestion of curcumin. It increases the level of curcumin absorbed into your bloodstream by 2000%.
  • Eat turmeric with good fats. Turmeric is fat-soluble. So, eating it with good fats like coconut oil or avocados helps you absorb more of the curcumin into your bloodstream.
  • Eat your turmeric with purple foods. Foods like red grapes, berries, apples, onions, and green tea have quercetin. Quercetin is a plant pigment that aids the absorption of curcumin.

Curcumin supplements are usually mixed with piperine to help improve the absorption levels. We have said so much about the benefits of curcumin. You might want to know if there are any adverse effects.

Does Tumeric Curcumin Have Any Side Effects?

You would need to take a high quantity of Tumeric Curcumin before you start experiencing its benefits. Research has shown that large amounts of turmeric can be consumed.

However, there are some side effects of taking too much. The most common side effects include;

  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Ulcers (extreme cases)

Large amounts of turmeric have also caused an iron deficiency in rare cases. There are no cases of toxic effects or long-term adverse effects from using turmeric.


Turmeric Curcumin has a lot of potential health benefits when ingested as a supplement or in its fresh form. You should always try to use the turmeric right so that your body can absorb more of the curcumin compound.

Before you start ingesting large amounts of turmeric, though, you should ask for your doctor’s advice. You can buy Turmeric Curcumin supplements and fresh or powder turmeric at online stores when you are ready.